Investigations of health and wellness in later life tend to be through a lens of dependency with the primary focus on deficits, loss and decline. Much less attention has been focused on the creative, adaptive and proactive aspects of aging and health within the context of residential relocation. This study explores the extent to which older adults employ proactive strategies to enhance person-environment fit and how these strategies interact with demographic and health characteristics.
Design and Methods:
We employ annual data (1990 – 2000) from the Florida Retirement Study, a panel study which focuses on late-life adaptation of older adults residing in an active living retirement community (n=601). Logistic regression techniques were used to test the relative influence of the predictors (i.e., demographic characteristics, health status, social resources and proactive strategies) in predicting the likelihood of moving over a ten year period.
Findings confirm prior research that female gender, older age, shorter housing tenure and poorer health are all predictors of moving. We also found that planning for future care and marshalling social support influence the likelihood of moving. This suggests that older adults, even when faced with stressors associated with aging, engage in proactive strategies as a means of achieving person-environment congruence.
Moving is a key and often overlooked option that older adults can exercise in order to enhance quality of life. Developing interventions that increase proactive strategies of older adults may bolster personal competency and ultimately contribute to person-environment congruence.